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Wife hunting (Are you a man she can trust?)

This mini series is based on some material I shared at Man Up, the Christ Church Hawthorn men’s brekky.  Tamie came along to help us understand what makes a woman, and here are some thoughts on how we can respond as men.

Because we men are broken creatures, we carry deep insecurities.  We are fearful.  We are scared of being exposed.  We desperately want to be reassured of our masculinity.  And we do anything we can to prop up our identity.  So, when it comes to women, we like to think that proper women are weak women — the ones who are quiet, who don’t challenge us, who so obviously need to be looked after or given advice or ordered around.  If that’s who women are, we can more easily pretend that we’re real men.

At least that’s how it is for some of us.  Different men express those same insecurities in different ways.  Some of us instead shut down and internalise.  Instead of constructing a macho facade, we just disengage.  That might mean we’re profoundly shy — or it might mean that we’re mavericks who always go it alone.  Either way, when it comes to women, we leave them to their own devices, or we give them their freedom, as long as we don’t have to be involved.

The thing is, women are the equal match and counterpart of men (as I’ve explored here before: 12).  And if there’s any truth in this, your woman won’t be a wimpy woman who you can keep down, and neither will she be a lone ranger who can plow on without you.  If you’re a single guy looking for a girl, you need to look for your equal match and counterpart.  They’re out there — I found mine.

If you’re actually looking for an equal match and counterpart, you’ll be looking for a woman who can do things you can’t.  What if you found a woman who has more people smarts, or is more articulate, or is a better planner than you?  That would be fantastic — she would be your ultimate counterpart!

Learning to team up with her will look different for you depending on what kind of guy you are (see also).

One of the greatest gender lies is that men are active and women are passive.  If you’re that ‘man of action’, you’ll need to work hard at finding a woman who you can encourage to be active.  The real issue here, though, is your own insecurity.  If you have basic struggles with your own lack of security, you will always look for a woman who you can keep in her place.

But I suspect the more common problem for Australian guys is to disengage, taking a laissez-faire, hands-off approach.  This leaves your woman in the driver’s seat while you just watch on.  That’s slow death for her.  If that’s you, you need to understand that partnership requires your initiative.  You need to come out of yourself to empower her.  Again, the real issue is your own insecurity.  Until you’ve done some hard work on your own life, you will be looking for a woman with whom you can switch off.

The bottom line: wife hunting is not about finding the right wife. It’s about whether you can be the right man.  You need to look for a woman who you can rise to the occasion for, a woman who you can live up to.  At the end of the day, she is your equal match and counterpart — will you be hers?

Categories: Woman Written by Arthur

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Arthur Davis

Arthur Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

11 replies

  1. Arthur, from what you’ve said over the last three posts about this issue I’m not entirely clear on what distinguishes men and women? (You’ve described men and women in a harmonious godly relationship like two jigsaw puzzle pieces, but I’m left wondering if they only distinctive is fitting together rather then the actual nature of either puzzle piece.)

  2. Thanks Luke.
    The distinctives that T and I have been exploring are “trust” (woman) and “initiative” (man).

    Stay tuned for the other posts in this series! :)

  3. That’s interesting, would say that male leadership in the church and the home is a separate issue in Scripture to gender differences?

  4. So Arthur just to be clear, you would hold that ‘male leadership’ flows from God’s command as opposed to being based on innate gender differences between men and women.

    (Separately, it’s good to see you and Tamie explore what Scripture says our gender differences should be as opposed to culture or our sinful nature. At an Egalitarian Conference last year one of the speakers was trying to argue there is no basis for gender differences in Scripture.)

  5. Hey Arthur,

    What’s so bad about being weak or wimpy? and what is so good about being smart, articulate and organised? (hypothetically of course) why would this make for an ultimate counterpart?

    I have had my head in 1 Corinthians all night for exam tomorrow. Perhaps it’s not the main point of you post but that really jumped out at me! (1 cor 1:20ff)

    I also worry that the tone of this post could be mistaken as encouraging valuing a spouse according to what they can do. It seems more consistent with grace to simply value them because God does. Our wives are precious to god and created in his image. (I’m sure you would agree, but thought i should raise it!)

    A related thought – i reckon grace would have to be the ultimate antidote to insecurity. Failure is presupposed, but on the final analysis, irrelevant! So why not look for a wife who will deal with you graciously. (I’m glad Jodie does!!)

  6. Yo yo my Ro-Ro :P
    You monkey, I hope a ninja hacks your awesome priestly beard-shot and puts it on all your profile pics! :D

    Good Qs. A few thoughts:

    Being “strong” and “active” (etc) comes from the idea of counterpart — that each side of the jigsaw contributes something the other does not. So I’m not saying that some kind of magical perfect/whole woman is out there, but that we should intentionally look for wives who can bring what we can’t. And that includes things that aren’t stereotypically “strong”, like being merciful.

    So the key is that we actually work out where our own shortcomings are. This is post is for men, about men. I’m saying that the women we naturally look for reflect more about our own brokenness, which we need to be dealing with.

    Yes, it’s not about valuing women for what they can do. It’s about recognising that women already are our equal partners (in God’s image), and working out how we can live up to that. So after saying a full-blooded Viking feast of an Amen to your note about grace, I would add that we should look for wives who will challenge rather than acquiesce to our insecurities, so that both partners move forward together in service of each other and God.

  7. Hi Luke
    Well, let’s hold off on the term “leadership” for the moment… :)
    But I think it’s a both-and: God has made men and women in a certain way, and God also intends them to live this out. The innate side of things is fraught, however, because of sin, so it’s the command side of things that I tend to focus on.

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